Planetarium and Digital Dome

Iziko’s enriching and enabling education programmes include Planetarium edu-tainment for diverse school groups and audiences.

The programmes endeavour to develop the full potential of learners. They include lessons, workshops, teacher enrichment programmes and educational projects aimed at adding value to classroom practice, as well as special needs activities and educational resources.

See below for a series of Planetarium and Digital Dome events and resources!

Sky Map

Throughout the ages people all over the world have observed and named the stars in their skies. To catalogue and standardize the names of stars, the International Astronomical Union (IAU) established the Working Group on Star Names (WGNS). On June 2016 the name Achernar for the star Alpha Eridani A was approved and is now so entered in the IAU Catalogue of Star Names. It is the brighter of a pair of stars that appears as one, high above the South-eastern horizon in the constellation of Eridanus, which is represented as a river.

The name Achernar is derived from Arabic, meaning “The End of the River”. The bright star below Achernar is Canopus in Carina (Keel) and high in the northwest is Fomalhaut in Piscis Austrinus (Southern Fish). To the north is the constellation of Pegasus (Flying Horse) with four fairly bright stars forming the Great Square. The Hunter, Orion, with the three bright stars in his belt is making his appearance in the east while Scorpius (Scorpion) is setting in the west. The Southern Cross is low above the southern horizon. Planet Venus is visible in the evening sky as the bright evening star, passing from Ophiuchus into Sagittarius on 9 Nov. Planet Mars is visible in Capricornus.

December 2022 Sky Map

As we move towards South Africa’s Summer Solstice (longest day) on 22 December, keep an eye out for the impressive ‘open cluster’ of stars; the Pleiades (isiLimela) in the north-east just below Aries (ram). Although only a few of the cluster’s stars are visible to the naked eye, binoculars reveal hundreds more, all formed from the same giant molecular cloud with roughly the same age.

The summer constellations Taurus (bull) and Orion (hunter) return to our evening skies, followed closely by the Milky Way as it stretches across our eastern horizon. Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, lies within Canis Major (big dog) in the east. The second brightest star, Canopus, is in the south-east in Carina (ship’s keel). Since Sirius rises later than Canopus, in |Xam Bushman starlore, Sirius was considered the `grandmother of Canopus’, trailing behind the more agile Canopus.

The Moon will be in the evening sky until 12 December with New Moon on 23 December and Full Moon (the ‘Springbok Moon’) on 8 December. All eight Solar System planets are theoretically visible at dusk around 23 December. However, you will need a telescope to find Neptune and Uranus. Setting just after sunset, Mercury and Venus may also be difficult to spot. Saturn, Jupiter and Mars are bright, and visible for most of the month before midnight. 

Download the December Sky Map HERE.